Florida International University

A garden blooms in Liberty Square.

The Harvest of Love community vegetable garden is yielding its first crops, a sign that efforts to revive the once-failed project are on the right track.

The evidence: basil and cabbage plants, along with infant mango and avocado trees.

An effort to create a garden at the public housing project failed two years ago. Additional funding this year gave the project, which remains a work in progress, another chance.

“It’s up and running,” said Courtney Wilson, a construction worker who lives in Liberty Square and manages the garden.

Wilson stepped into the role after completing the Legacy Green Employment program which trains unemployed people how to develop and cultivate gardens and harvest crops and how to market, produce and prepare healthy foods from garden crops.

The  Liberty Square garden was  scaled back from more than 30 beds to seven after complaints that the earlier garden occupied too much space.

Of the seven beds, four remain unplanted as Wilson waits for the right time to plant seasonal vegetables.

The garden was expected to be complete in June but a playground and overhead irrigation have yet to be built.

“The playground is coming,” Wilson said. “Funding was approved [for irrigation] last week and we should get started next week or the week after.”

Wilson said the revived garden is different from the one that failed a year ago because of the people who are now involved, a group that includes Liberty Square residents and Legacy graduates.

He points to the work residents put in to keep the project going.

“A lot of people are involved now,” he said. “This community wants it.”

Ronnie Figueroa may be reached at rfigu003@fiu.edu.